NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2018
Latest on Mike Hoffman and Jacob Trouba plus updates on the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins in your NHL rumor mill.
HOFFMAN TRADE VALUE PLUMMETING
TSN: In his latest update of his Trade Bait Board, Frank Seravalli reports the cyberbullying allegations levied by Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson’s wife against the fiancee of teammate Mike Hoffman has sent the latter’s trade value tumbling from No. 3 on his listing down to No. 9. He said the only reason Hoffman’s value remains that high is “because it’s a near certainty that he will be traded now. It’s just a matter of when, where, and for what.”
Seravalli cited one NHL general manager saying Hoffman would be “persona non grata” with his club until this matter was resolved one way or the other. Another said he would “never invite that kind of circus” into his dressing room.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas fast approaching, Hoffman could be dealt within a matter of days. During the season, Hoffman was linked to the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks, though the latter’s recent signing of Evander Kane probably takes them out of the equation.
While some still think the Senators can get a good return for him, most observers believe the opposite. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently suggested Hoffman could still fetch a 2019 first-round pick and a good young player or prospect. It’ll be a significant test of GM Pierre Dorion’s skills to land that kind of return now.
POSSIBLE CANADIENS’ TRADE TARGETS
TVA SPORTS: Lists the Minnesota Wild’s Charlie Coyle, Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Columbus Blue Jackets’ Boone Jenner, St. Louis Blues’ Robby Fabbri and the Florida Panthers’ Nick Bjugstad as five centers the Montreal Canadiens could target in the trade market. The Canadiens carry four picks in the second round of this year’s draft and perhaps at least one of those picks could be used to land one of those centers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens had interest in Coyle leading up to this year’s trade deadline and could circle back this summer. Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli insists he’s not shopping Nugent-Hopkins. Jenner can play center or wing and is a restricted free agent this year, though his offensive stats have tumbled from his 30-goal campaign two years ago.
Fabbri has considerable talent but has also undergone two knee surgeries in as many years. Bjugstad was also linked to the Canadiens as part of a rumored deal for Max Pacioretty.
If GM Marc Bergevin goes shopping for a center, he could target Coyle and Bjugstad. It’ll probably take more than a couple of second-round picks to land either guy.
TEAMS INTERESTED IN KREJCI?
WGR 550: TSN’s Darren Dreger said there are teams calling the Boston Bruins to express interest in center David Krejci. Dreger believes the Bruins are reluctant to make that move, “but every player has a price tag.” He thinks the Bruins would instead prefer trading David Backes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, trading Krejci would remove his $7.25-million annual cap hit from the Bruins books. On the other hand, that move would leave them scrambling to find a suitable second-line center. Krejci also has a full no-movement clause. He could waive it for the right club but it certainly limits where the Bruins could send him.
As for Backes, his age (34), declining production and $6 million cap hit could be a tough sell unless the Bruins take back a toxic contract, absorb part of Backes’ cap hit or include a good young player or prospect in the deal.
SHOULD THE JETS TRADE TROUBA?
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Paul Wiecek asks, “what is pending restricted free agent Jacob Trouba worth? And can the Jets afford to re-sign him?” While Trouba said in his season-ending press conference that he’d like to re-sign a long-term extension with the Jets, Wiecek reminds us how contentious the defenseman’s previous contract negotiations became, leading at one point to his agent requesting a trade.
Wiecek believes the Trouba camp will seek around $7 million annually. He wonders if the Jets can afford to pay that much for a blueliner who, “while talented defensively, has yet to demonstrate much upside offensively — he scored three goals this past season and finished with 24 points — and who has had injury troubles, playing more than 65 games in a season just once in his five-year career.”
The Jets have several notable players (Connor Hellebuyck, Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor) due for new contracts between now and next summer. If something’s got to give to get those players under contract, Wiecek suggests it could be Trouba, who would fetch the Jets a big return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wiecek isn’t saying Trouba will be traded, just suggesting it as an option if the blueliner’s asking price might prevent the Jets from re-signing another key player. So far, there’s no indication the Jets are considering that option. Still, if the Trouba camp sets a ridiculously high asking price, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could consider that option. It’ll be interesting to see how those contract negotiations unfold.